Argentina fined £80,000 for homophobic chanting and violence at the World Cup

NIZHNIY NOVGOROD, RUSSIA - JUNE 21: Lionel Messi and team mate Sergio Aguero of Argentina show their dejection during the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia group D match between Argentina and Croatia at Nizhniy Novgorod Stadium on June 21, 2018 in Nizhniy Novgorod, Russia. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

FIFA has fined the Argentine Football Association £80,000 after its fans sang homophobic chants at the World Cup.

Supporters at Argentina’s 3-0 loss to Croatia on June 21 were found to have involved themselves “in fights, throwing objects and homophobic and insulting chants.”

Last week, the Mexican Football Federation was fined around £7,600 by FIFA for homophobic chanting after a World Cup qualification campaign in which it was fined 11 times.

MOSCOW, RUSSIA - JUNE 16:  Argentina fans show their support during the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia group D match between Argentina and Iceland at Spartak Stadium on June 16, 2018 in Moscow, Russia.  (Photo by Matthias Hangst/Getty Images)

Argentina fans (Matthias Hangst/Getty)

FIFA also issued a fine to Argentina for homophobic chants by fans at 2018 World Cup qualification matches.

Argentina’s latest fine was also partly down to the fact that the squad did not fulfil its post-match media duties, FIFA added.

During the 2014 World Cup, FIFA fined Argentina more than £220,000 because the squad “turned up to three consecutive press conferences… with only the head coach present instead of the required head coach plus at least one player.”

NIZHNY NOVGOROD, RUSSIA - JUNE 21:  Lionel Messi of Argentina looks dejected after the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia group D match between Argentina and Croatia at Nizhny Novgorod Stadium on June 21, 2018 in Nizhny Novgorod, Russia.  (Photo by Gabriel Rossi/Getty Images)

Lionel Messi hangs his head (Gabriel Rossi/Getty)

Last year FIFA implemented a new procedure giving referees the authority to abandon matches if homophobic chants do not cease.

Under the new procedure, referees will have the authority to pause the match, with a tannoy announcement warning fans against discriminatory language.

If it does not cease, the match can be suspended or even abandoned entirely.

TOPSHOT - Fans of Argentina watch the FIFA World Cup Russia 2018 match between Argentina and Croatia on a large screen at San Martin square in Buenos Aires on June 21, 2018. (Photo by EITAN ABRAMOVICH / AFP)        (Photo credit should read EITAN ABRAMOVICH/AFP/Getty Images)

Argentina fans watch their side’s game against Croatia (EITAN ABRAMOVICH/AFP/Getty)

However, this procedure was not deployed at either the Mexico v Germany match or Argentina’s 3-0 defeat against Croatia.

A gay football fan was hospitalised in Russia with brain injuries after a vicious attack ahead of the World Cup.

There have been few other reports of anti-gay violence during the tournament, which is nearly two weeks old, but LGBT people in Russia have voiced their fears that the relaxed policing towards the community will end after the World Cup.

The head of the Russian LGBT Sport Federation, Aleksandr Agapov said authorities have been relaxed in applying the country’s “gay propaganda” laws during the tournament.

Alexander Agapov with his flag

Hate crimes against LGBT people have doubled since Russia created the 2013 legislation, which prohibits “propaganda of non-traditional sexual relationships” towards minors.

Football fans including England supporters have been able to bring rainbow Pride flags into stadiums so far – which was promised before the tournament by FIFA and the Russian Football Union.

But Agapov said that he was unsure if the World Cup would have any lasting legacy, adding that authorities were making the issue one of “hospitality” rather than human rights.

He said: “In a way it is very good that Russia shows its opportunity, its possibility to be so open and inclusive but for me as an LGBTI person it is a huge question whether we will have a positive legacy of the World Cup when the World Cup is over.”